The COVID-19 crisis has forced higher education institutions to rapidly transfer offline teaching and learning into the online world. DEL4ALL wanted to gain a better understanding of how educational institutions are managing the continuity of higher education during COVID-19, and how they adapt their teaching practices to the future. Therefore, we conducted two DEL4ALL survey studies among higher education stakeholders during the summer break, which were designed to identify:
- major challenges facing schools and universities,
- main opportunities presented to education institutions,
- expected actions from authorities to guide the transformation in digital education,
- innovative and emerging technologies to support and enhance digital learning, and
- anticipations from stakeholders of permanent post-pandemic changes.
Results and conclusions of both surveys are published now in a White Paper, which shows that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed structural weaknesses in the current higher education systems. The digital education experts reported incompatible teaching materials, non-existent infrastructure, and a lack of skills, and expect more focus on digital enhanced and personalised learning as well as Open Educational Resources. The surveys also resulted in highlighting the need for a digital enhanced learning guide with structured concepts, standards, and best practices. Respondents also identified open educational resources, virtual learning platforms integrated with learning analytics, digital games, and artificial intelligence as resources for digital learning in higher education.
Both the first and second survey suggested budgetary support from the European Commission and expressed a need for regulation and legal frameworks to protect staff from being “replaced” by technology and for enabling rapid contracting of services. Furthermore, experts encouraged support for an open debate about the future of education and assistance with capacity building and skills development for teaching staff.
DEL4ALL aims to transform current European research and innovation initiatives in the area of digital enhanced learning into an increasingly cohesive, dynamic, participatory and sustainable ecosystem, capable of effectively stimulating collaboration among all key players in an inclusive and impactful way. We are here to support the digital enhanced learning community in these difficult times.
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